World’s Largest Population of Giant Manta Rays Gets More Protection in Peru

In another win for marine life, Peru started the new year by enacting regulations to protect the world’s largest known population of giant manta rays.

These behemoths have become particularly vulnerable to fisheries that target them for their meat and for their gills, which are considered a delicacy in China and are used in traditional medicine. Earlier this year, the accidental killing of a massive giant manta ray in northern Peru also highlighted the threat they face as a result of being caught and killed as bycatch.

Organizations including Planeta Ocano, WildAid and The Manta Trust have partnered up and have been calling for further protection over concerns that even limited fishing could push these giant rays, who are long-lived and slow to reproduce, to the point of no return.

The good news is that their efforts have paid off. Peru’s Ministry of Production has officially passed a resolution that, among other measures, bans fishing for manta rays and requires any who are caught accidentally as bycatch be immediately released.

“My team and I are extremely proud to have generated legal action for the protection of giant oceanic manta rays in Peru through this Ministerial Resolution. We thus highlight our commitment to promote positive change within our fisheries sector. Our ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable fisheries and sustainable consumption in benefit of future generations,” saidJess Eloy Barrientos Ruiz, Director of Supervision and Fiscalization of the Ministry of Production.

The change brings Peru in line with 12 other countries that have enacted some protection for manta rays, including neighboring Ecuador, which will hopefully provide them with more safety as they migrate.

“The Peruvian government has taken commendable and critical steps to protect this unique population, and with proper enforcement it will now be safe from exploitation on both sides of the border,” said Josh Stewart, Associate Director of The Manta Trust.

Now the organizations involved are pushing for more changes to support conservation of giant manta rays, including getting protection for mobula rays who are similar in appearance.

They’re also calling for more research on giant manta rays, which will also help identify critical habitat, along with more education and outreach to build support for conservation, training for fishermen to provide them with alternatives like tourism and the establishment of protected areas.

“Legal protection for manta rays could not be adequately implemented if it were not for effective local community engagement. By empowering artisanal fishermen in manta ecotourism, we hope to elevate the profile of manta ray conservation in Peru, while providing alternate livelihoods to low-income communities,” said Kerstin Forsberg, Director of Planeta Ocano.

For more info, check out The Manta Trust, WildAid, and Planeta Ocano.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

73 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

What about the damn plastic trash humans have thrown in the ocean which is so prevalent it outnumbers the plankton. This must be poisoning these intelligent animals.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Apparently everything is a "delicacy" for the stinking guts of those unwashed criminals in China. I wouldn't be surprised if they boiled their own children alive. What a nightmare bunch of monsters those people are.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

They are so beautiful!!!

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JACQUI GLYDE
Jacqueline GLYDE3 years ago

What don't the Chinese classify as a delicacy or a medicinal product??Makes me sick!

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Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Petition signed

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Mark Verbossche
Mark Verbossche3 years ago

Is there no living creature on the planet safe from the chinese for their so called traditional medicine?

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Friedrich Kling-Hauss
Frank Kling3 years ago

Friends: Please go to petitions.whitehouse.gov and add your signature to the We the People petition "Arrest Ammon Bundy and the armed occupiers of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge."
You can make a difference. Please speak-up for America's wildlife. If we don't, than who will?
Thank you.

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sheena arsenault
sheena arsenault3 years ago

good stuff.ty

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Fred L.
Fred L3 years ago

Some good news from Peru and Ecuador. More mantas please, fewer humans.

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